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Post 60

Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 2:28amSanction this postReply
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Dont forget Darling!!!!!!!!!

AS is a workbook, smile.




Post 61

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
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Sam-

Yeah, it's kind of difficult to maintain a frame of reference on any kind of AR forum if you're talking with someone who hasn't read at least AS or TF. I've seen that happen a few times over the years; curious...  That's like hitting a Thoreau board in the middle of discussing "Walden" even though you haven't gotten past the table of contents.. I don't get it.




Post 62

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 8:56pmSanction this postReply
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Maybe this is off-topic here, but in this thread and others seem to claim that the PNAC organization is some kind of Bavarian Illuminati.  This is ridiculous.  I can't say I am in 100% agreement, but indeed let us look at their statement of principals:

June 3, 1997
American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.
We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.
 
Looks like politics from 8 years ago, saying the conservatives have to get their act together and come up with some new ideas.  And yes, their job as the American Government would seem to be protecting and securing US interests, would it not?


As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
 
The US is, indeed, the world's preeminent power, so now what?  This was written before 9/11, but already they see the fact that policy is "coasting" in that we figure we can just leave it all to sort itself out (Clinton's plan), but ended up with 9/11 by being asleep at the wheel.


We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

They probably want to spend more $ on big ticket items, but again at this time the lessons of 9/11 were not so clear (they should update it, though.  Change from the old defense culture built up during the Cold War will take some time, but it will happen.  And don't Europeans talk about Diplomacy and Statecraft, too?

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

A bit of a mix of self-interest and altruism (responsibilities), but the statement is broad and the devil is in the details.  I still don't see the Bavarian Illuminati here.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.
 
Europeans get scared when Americans speak of "leadership" and think that means some kind of Imperialism.  It doesn't, it means what it says, leadership - citizens in all of Europe should understand this, because this same leadership saved their Nations in the last century from the twin evils of Fascism and Communism.  It also stresses "prudence" in the statement, meaning we do need to make the effort to include all of our Allies, when, where and if they can help in any way. 
 
Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.
 
Item 1 - I think Rummy has done a bang-up job on some of this, but the new realities of the War on Terrorism mean more changes in how we handle security.
Item 2 - How can you argue with this?
Item 3 - Again, how can you argue with this?
Item 4 - The US DOES have a unique role, as the only Nation with the power to project force anywhere in the world. 
 
Here are the men (and women) who signed it:
 

Elliott Abrams    Gary Bauer    William J. Bennett    Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney    Eliot A. Cohen    Midge Decter    Paula Dobriansky    Steve Forbes

Aaron Friedberg    Francis Fukuyama    Frank Gaffney    Fred C. Ikle

Donald Kagan
   Zalmay Khalilzad    I. Lewis Libby    Norman Podhoretz

Dan Quayle
   Peter W. Rodman    Stephen P. Rosen    Henry S. Rowen

Donald Rumsfeld
   Vin Weber    George Weigel    Paul Wolfowitz




Post 63

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 3:31amSanction this postReply
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Kurt,

As I was the one introducing PNAC to the discussion, i will have a go at this.

If we start by finding some common ground; i do NOT challenge that America is the world's preeminent power, though preeminent power is a vaguely defined concept that would imply dignity and lack context, i would prefer to pinpoint that America is in possession of military and commercial control, authority, and influence over any other single sovereign state in the World, which is merely the definition of power including the two main areas in which America holds it.

Neither do i challenge the fact that the objectives of PNAC is to protect American interests.

That America is in charge of 30% of the global economy is itself a great thing, Let those that do well, do well. If they hold 30% of the trade, they are contributing 30% of the trade.

I do object to the fact that PNAC wants to protect american commercial interests by government control and use of military power against those that threaten their commercial position. Regardless that threat is a commercial threat, not a military threat.

I do object to the fact that PNAC hold it as Americas 'responsibility' to 'boldly promote' American principles abroad. I do object to meeting "future challenges" by preemptive warfare forgetting the minority report from the rest of the world community.

Protecting american interests is not altruism just because you sell it as responsibility. Protecting American interests is a good goal, but not one to be reached at the cost of others by force.

That America the glorious saved the european "Nations in the last century from the twin evils of Fascism and Communism" is one way to look at it. America refused to enter WWII until she was forced when she was attacked by Japan. Had America not been forced into the war, then rest of europe would clearly have had a problem against germany, just like we all would have had a problem had it not been for the rest of the coalition forces. That europe would have been communist, had it not been for America, is a claim i can't see founded in reality. But i see neither as being relevant - WWII was in self-defense against the German aggressors, today it would seem that the initiative for aggression is American.

If we go to Item 1 which only becomes a question in item 2 that is repeated in item 3; i will read your question as "the War on Terrorism mean more changes in how we handle security. How can you argue with this?"
A war on terror is a change in the handling of terror. If you will sell your own freedom to buy security at home that is your choice. If you will take the freedom and lives from innocent people of other sovereign states to protect your own freedom from non-existing threats, based on a belief that such a threat might evolve at some point is hostile aggression.

And your last item though a statement "The US DOES have a unique role, as the only Nation with the power to project force anywhere in the world. "
The US is far from the only Nation with the power to project force anywhere in the world, it is merely the strongest military power. They hold the biggest power to project force anywhere in the World... and they do.

On my way home I took a QuaterPounder Menu with an extra large Coke, spilling some of the Heinz Ketchup on the seat of my Ford Mondeo, when i got there the kid was watching Disney Show so i switched on my Apple Macintosh, starting up Firefox to write this reply, as happy about america, as i am about the rest of this great world -- and for the love of life very much against the policies and actions of the current PNAC dominated administration.

(Edited by Søren Olin
on 7/13, 5:13am)




Post 64

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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Once more, my apologies this doesn't really belong on this thread, maybe I should make a new one?  Anyway, I continue:

Søren, The problem is that your derived statements do not really match either the statements of PNAC or reality:

I do object to the fact that PNAC wants to protect american commercial interests by government control and use of military power against those that threaten their commercial position. Regardless that threat is a commercial threat, not a military threat. - Where does it say this?  Is this explicit, implied or some kind of grey area?  Is it intervention if US Companies are expropriated by a foreign government?  Or, are they speaking to perhaps protectionism, which I of course would be against.  Again, as I said, the devil is in the details.  Overall, the administration promotes free trade.  I don't see any evidence that this is taking place.

I do object to the fact that PNAC hold it as Americas 'responsibility' to 'boldly promote' American principles abroad. I do object to meeting "future challenges" by preemptive warfare forgetting the minority report from the rest of the world community. - Preemptive is not mentioned in the statement anywhere.  I aree that support from the world community can be useful, but is by no means a requirement for taking action when necessary.
 
Protecting American interests is a good goal, but not one to be reached at the cost of others by force. - So are you saying that protecting interests with force for any reason is wrong?  I assume you are not (I doubt you are a pacifist), so this statement is already incorrect on its face.  It depends on context as to why the force is being used.  I presume you feel Iraq didn't justify force, but I disagree because protecting US interests at the expense of a country run by a totalitarian dictator is a non-issue.  He exerts power by force and terror only, thereby he forfeits his rights to non-initiation of force.
 
That europe would have been communist, had it not been for America, is a claim i can't see founded in reality. But i see neither as being relevant - WWII was in self-defense against the German aggressors, today it would seem that the initiative for aggression is American. - I find it hard to believe you would disagree that absent US arms and US deterrence in Nuclear Weapons, Europe could have avoided being either overrun or undermined by Communism, but I understand it does not directly relate.  There is no aggression when force is used against those who rule by force.  The US is not being an aggressor, and in fact each country we have invaded will be better off in the long run, just as Germany and Japan were and are today, and other countries may also end up with benefits, for example Libya, Egypt, Syria, maybe even Iran, as a result of the pressure this will apply on their authoritarian governments and hopefully will lead to their downfall without it coming to war.
 
A war on terror is a change in the handling of terror. If you will sell your own freedom to buy security at home that is your choice.  - We are not selling our freedom at home.  Excesses of certain laws can be handled through checks and balances (such as the courts) and I don't find that being harsher with terrorists is any issue at all when taken in context.  Rights exist within a context, not as completely intrinsic facts.  To provide "rights" to those aiding and participating in terrorism, regardless of context, is to undermine the concept of rights itself.  I would also like to note that many liberties we in the US take for granted are not provided for in Europe at all.  For example, the French police have greater powers to detain and search than we do, and in Germany during the cold war some acts provided for all sorts of invasions of privacy in the name of terror, often they didn't do much either.  As to the Dutch, look at how lousy Dutch Law is working in Aruba?  It is a ridiculous system where judges can just "hold" people for lengthy periods.  There is free speech banned in the UK.  My real point is not to argue who is better or worse, but to say that this blanket European indictment of US civil rights is avsurd, given the track record of your own Nations in the past especially and even now.  You seem to have either too many or too few.
 
If you will take the freedom and lives from innocent people of other sovereign states to protect your own freedom from non-existing threats, based on a belief that such a threat might evolve at some point is hostile aggression. - There is nothing "Sovereign" about a state that exists through force and terror of its population for a ruling elite!  The non-existing threat was a threat in 1990 when it invaded another Nation, and was not in compliance with its own cease fire nor with the rest of the world's diplomatic requirements (UN) either, and no one thought that someone throws out inspectors and prevents them from going to certain areas unless they are hiding something.  That he was not is still in doubt, but the point was, if a known killer tells you its ok to search his house, but then says you can't go in the basement, everyone is gonna think he has a body there!  If you come back later to fight him cause he chased you out with a gun, you have to figure he somehow snuck the body out before you got back.




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Post 65

Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 6:56amSanction this postReply
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Kurt, how come I can't help but to see what you defend as a Project for a New Altruist Country?:
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we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order
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each country we have invaded will be better off in the long run
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many liberties we in the US take for granted are not provided for in Europe at all ... the French police have greater powers to detain and search than we do ... in Germany during the cold war some acts provided for all sorts of invasions of privacy in the name of terror, often they didn't do much either ... free speech banned in the UK
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These quotes all point one way -- for me (to a decidedly altruist policy).
Ed




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Post 66

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 4:15amSanction this postReply
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I believe the original thread was done with, and i don't think the PNAC influence on the Bush administration is too far off, let's continue here.

PNAC as such can hold whatever views they hold. PNAC is not running the administration, no lobby group is. The Bush administration and PNAC, does however seem inseparable, and this is where i think it gets interesting. PNAC shows a philosohy, the administration shows actions. The men in charge of the administration are to an overwhelming extend the men behind PNAC. I think it fair to see the actions of the administration, in comparison to the philosophy held by the men behind those actions, the men behind PNAC.

On protecting american commercial interests by the use of power; "Where does it say this?  Is this explicit, implied or some kind of grey area?"
No it doesn't say explicitly, and that's the problem, no one seems to say why we had to invade Iraq. We were asked to believe one motive, when it turned out that it was a well planned lie (downing street memo and facts), we were asked to believe something else. If we should choose between having blind faith in someone known not to tell the truth, and trusting reason, i chose to trust reason. Iraq was invaded, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, WMDs or terror - at least i have been introduced to no proof suggesting that it had - the only shared interest between Iraq and America, to my knowledge, is oil. When the PNAC members of the bush administration hold that america should lead the world, and american interests should be protected by use of military power - which it does say - then i begin to see reason. Explicit, implied or other grey area... the only thing explicit are the pictures of war, thousands of dead civilians, all we can do is use the grey area between our ears to combine facts to reason, it's really all we have been given, so yes, very much an implied tangible truth, do you have something more reasonable?

"Preemptive is not mentioned in the statement anywhere.  I aree that support from the world community can be useful, but is by no means a requirement for taking action when necessary."
- no, preemptive is not mentioned, it is merely done. I don't know if action speaks louder than words, but action is. For someone to force 'democratisation' by disregarding democracy i find interesting.

"So are you saying that protecting interests with force for any reason is wrong?  I assume you are not (I doubt you are a pacifist), so this statement is already incorrect on its face.  It depends on context as to why the force is being used."
I am saying that protecting interests with force, should be used in defense of interests threatened by force - protecting by force, that which has not been threatened by force is an act of aggression.

"I presume you feel Iraq didn't justify force, but I disagree because protecting US interests at the expense of a country run by a totalitarian dictator is a non-issue.  He exerts power by force and terror only, thereby he forfeits his rights to non-initiation of force."
- Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator, killing many of his own people, that he is gone i think we all welcome as good, but removing him by an act of aggression killing more innocent iraqi civilians than he ever did, could raise questions as to who is the bad guy. If for the sake of it we play that self-denial shouldn't equal self-deceit, that altruism was possible, and that from the goodness of his heart some leader would want to engage in democratisation of those that held other forms of government... then where do you want to go today? to the absolute monarchies of Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland or Tonga or why not the theocracies of Iran or the Vatican City State. We could also take on all the one-party and no-party states of People's Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Laos, Libya, Syria, Turkmenistan and Vietnam not to mention the military junta in Myanmar/burma but why stop there? Afghanistan is a presidential republic that didn't stop us from attacking them for training saudi arabian terrorists. If 'democratisation' of everything undemocratic by military force is the goal, nothing short of world war can be the result.

We are not selling our freedom at home
- i have been broadening the discussion too much, so im not going to comment too deeply on these issues of secondary connection to the topic, except to say that, yes, many places have less liberties, i am not trying to say that america is bad, i am only saying that i find it sad that the current administration is trying very hard to limit those liberties in the name of security, as the patriot act clearly shows. Security costs freedom, and that is the only black and white there is about it, i can't give a good alternative, i can't say where to draw the line, only a non-constructive comment that i would prefer less security and more freedom.

There is nothing "Sovereign" about a state that exists through force and terror of its population for a ruling elite!
Most countries have evolved through thousands of years. The familiy with it's authoritarian patriarch accepting to be part of the tribe with it's authoritarian chief accepting or being forced into being part of the geographical area with its authoritarian monach or lord, a dynamic evolved where members of the group had powers ie military services to offer the lord in exchange for land, creating new authoritarian leaders and when no more land could be given a monetary system evolved creating new authoritarian groups... any type of government is the type that have suited the given area at the time of its rule. The type of government we have today will itself evolve to something else over time, that does not make one type correct, and free to do with the other types as they please in the name of anything but a wish to be the authoritarian power of the day.

Sprinkle it with punctuation marks, and it might make sense.



Post 67

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:05amSanction this postReply
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You could perhaps add that every sovereignty throughout history which has used preemptive striking, has claimed as excuse and justification the notion it was a survivalness, a defensiveness to their realm - that neither makes it true, nor moral...



Post 68

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 8:28amSanction this postReply
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Does the Bhopal Disaster have any relevance to this discussion?



Post 69

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 12:25pmSanction this postReply
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Sharon,
Does the Bhopal Disaster have any relevance to this discussion?


Union Carbide as well as WorlCom, Enron, Andersen, Adelphia, Xerox, Tyco, Global Crossing and Merrill Lynch would aid to show corporate abuse / corporate terrorism resulting from fraud or negligence, which did play a part of the origins of this thread.

Union Carbide agreed to pay 500$ million for damages (600,000 people injured or killed by the MIC leak in Bhopal), 300$ million still kept by the indian government and refused the survivors which would aid in showing that government intervention is a bad thing for the public.

After bleeding half a billion USD for something that happened 20 years ago, Union Carbide is still harvesting bad will. I would think it the legacy of Bhopal to show that it is in the best interest of any corporation and it's investors, to live up to its responsibility to the environment and it's employees, and as such would aid in showing self-interest leading to common good.

So yes, Bhopal could aid the original discussion on specific issues, but as a general tendency i see Bhopal holding little relevance. If judging from single episodes all americans would be living secluded lives in small cabins, spending their time blowing up people with home-made bombs, all Germans, surfing the internet, would be cannibals looking for victims. All objectivists would be religious.
(Edited by Søren Olin
on 7/18, 1:00pm)




Post 70

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 6:23pmSanction this postReply
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To Ed - Perhaps PNAC could be altruist, though it is surprising all the leftists hate it so, wonder why if it is altruism?  Anyway, that is besides the point, I was just trying to say they are not some scary Illuminati group or all that radical, for that matter.



Post 71

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Olin, I think your view against the Iraq war is obvious, and I think you are incorrect in your assessment that Saddam was not a threat.  However, that is for another argument elsewhere and has been beat to death, and was not my specific point. 

I also didn't say that just attacking Iraq means we would or should attack X,Y & Z as you named, only that Saddam's cess-pool cannot and should not be defended as an "aggression" against a "sovereign" nation when aggression was his modus operandi.

Re:  freedom, correct it is too far out, I would only say that "restricting freedom" doesn't have to be for everyone, just those who deserve it (i.e. people who are not US Citizens and evidence exists for suspicion).  I think very clear rules and systems for any such changes are needed, and should be better spelled out.

I do like what you said about the evolution of the authoritarian regimes, and you are correct about that except for what it means to those of us now in the 21st Century.  Access to what globalization offers will change these regimes, no matter what they wish, and therefore they are resisting their loss of power through terrorism of one sort or another.  That makes it our business once that becomes the case.  It is ignored at our peril, as demonstrated by 9/11 and London.  Change is coming, whether they like it or not.

Robert - don't understand your post.




Post 72

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:22pmSanction this postReply
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Kurt,
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To Ed - Perhaps PNAC could be altruist, though it is surprising all the leftists hate it so, wonder why if it is altruism? 
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There are 2 possible reasons why the Left hates PNAC:

1) because everybody -- both the Right and the Left -- shifted to the Left, within in the last half-century or so (current neoCons merely occupy territory first trailblazed by FDR and LBJ -- while the Left went looney in an ever-left chase of anti-industrial unreason)

2) PNAC is inherently Straussian -- a new imperialism merely "selling" itself as altruism (as all other imperialisms have)


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Anyway, that is besides the point, I was just trying to say they are not some scary Illuminati group or all that radical, for that matter.
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Illuminati, Schluminati. I don't need to postulate David Eiche's reptilian race in order to evaluate a goddamn policy (though its true, I have noticed that you never see Rove or Wolfowitz from the back -- and this peculiar fact keeps it possible that they could have tails ... ).

Less jokingly though: yes, PNAC is not all that radical -- but radical is relative; relative to contemporary politics and culture. PNAC would be DAMNED RADICAL to the founders of this great country [quotes withheld, but I shall remain poised ...].

Ed




Post 73

Friday, September 2, 2005 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus Bachler said: "Objectivists do not claim to be able to create a perfect world, but a moral world whereby men trade freely with one another value for value."

Isn't that a perfect world? (not a rhetorical question)



Post 74

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply
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I'm by no means well read on the problems of a free market but...

'People like Mark-Moody Stuart, like Ira Jackson, saying; look corporations are going to respond to your concerns. If you want a cleaner environment, if you want better working conditions, use your power as consumers. Support those companies that have good environmental policies, and don’t buy products from those companies that have bad environmental policies.
The problem with that model, well there are lot’s of problems with that model, well there are lot’s of problems with that model, but one of the most substantial problems with that model, is that the market isn’t democratic.
The notion that we should rely on corporations accountability to share holders, and to consumers, means that we basically give up on the idea, the central idea in a democracy, that every individual should have the same number of votes. If we’re relying on shareholders, much of the population doesn't own shares at all, and among those people who do, some own many shares and others don’t. So if the notion is; that our structures of accountability are through shareholders, then we have a very skewed, and very unequal kind of electorate. Namely those people who own lots of shares, and have lots of wealth, have a lot more power.
And the same with consumption, the same with consumers. Many people have very little consumer power at all, especially when you get outside of the industrialized countries. And so the notion that we should rely upon consumers to constrain corporate action, again creates this highly skewed kind of so-called ‘democracy'.
And there are many other problems with the model as well, and that is: how are consumers supposed to know what is going on in corporations? Especially what kind of harms are being caused by corporations. Especially when you have the media itself being a relatively ineffective tool for revealing corporate harm.'
- Joel Bakan, The Corporation DVD commentary.

If you are quite poor and basically make enough money, to pay for essentials, such as food, clothing, shelter, and a few luxuries, you basically don't have the economic luxury of voting with your dollars. People who work in sweatshops for instance make enough for the essentials and that's it. Also what about the people who don't have money , indigenous people etc.. Third world workers and indigenous people are unable to effectively influence policy change via that kind of consumer activism, and have their agriculture, public space, schools taken over by corporations. You could say we should vote with dollars to protect them, but we don't necessary know it's happening, and we may not know what's best for them. By people buying the corporations products through necessity, or even luxury doesn't necessarily mean they support their actions.

Also what about the free trade zones/enclaves, in Asia and South America, they are practically free market havens, they are not legislated to have almost any regulations in place to protect workers, and the one's that do rarely enforce them. They work in appalling conditions (read no logo by Naomi Klein or see www.nlcnet.org ) and are paid low wages . One of the the principles for outrage behind the anti-globalisation is that, they aren't legislated to act benevolently to third world workers, and voluntarily choose not to, read the reports of sweatshop conditions. That kind of worker exploitation is usually not tolerated by the workers and governments of western countries, so they go to an unregulated area to exploit people so they can make more profit. Corporations seem by many to benefit industrialized countries, at the expense of poorer countries workers.

I also find it incredible that people defend low conditions in sweatshops, somehow you guys celebrate the fact that they are better off being overworked and underpaid than not, and so it is a moral thing to do. I don't see overworking and underpaying, consistent with Oist ethics of honesty, benevolence, and justice. The corporations pay them low wages basically because they know the workers won't complain. There are many cases of people trying to form trade unions and raise working standards and are then fired and blacklisted throughout the region. There are stories of appalling conditions such as workers living in house with sewage running through them, and workers only being able to urinate in plastic bags.

They also have many dealings with governments who have appalling human rights records, and do nothing almost nothing (apart from boosting the economy) to help the people but instead benefit from the system that allows the exploitation of their citizens. Google China censorship recent example.

Also the argument that it is how things were when western countries were industrializing, is false according to what I've read. According to Naomi Klein, and some people in the corporation DVD 2nd disc (i forget who), corporations have contracts in place with the third world countries that if economic situations change they can sue them. The Bechtel Corporation is suing the Bolivian Government for the people taking back their water supply. The point is their are effect measures in place to keep things the way they are.

What about the corporations who are going through the judicial system at the moment trying to stop a College from boycotting their products because they disagree with their foreign trade policy (read no logo).

Also the idea of voting with dollars usually only come to effect after the exploitation, of the environment, people, or animals has taken place. Legislations are seen as a preventative.

_____

Also on the subject of advertising this is important to Initiative media use the nag factor to sell products, and target children.
Anorexia is by many accounts a western/consumer society problem, ever read a teen girl/cosmopolitan type magazine? They're real dramatically life affecting problems caused by the values promoted that are used to sell products.

view, http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/03/06/classroom.ads.ap/index.html

On the Corporation DVD, Lucy Hughes openly states that These are real problems of corporate activities, and part of the cause of a lot of regulation/anti-globalisation movements. She also says they hire psychologists to hone their advertisments towards children. How can one parent combat an industry that spends billions of dollars on advertising. 

I'm not advocating a political model to combat these problems, I'm genuinely interested in reading your response, and proposed solutions.


+++++++++++++++++++++++

If you choose to reply to this please omit mockery, and name calling. If you are also posting to simply say your not going to debate with me, please save your time and mine, by simply not posting. Cheers.

(Edited by Mr Mike Skinner on 3/14, 12:29pm)




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Post 75

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 8:33pmSanction this postReply
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The US is not a Democracy, but a Constitutional Republic.  A person who did nothing to produce any of my wealth, or myself theirs, does not simply get a "vote" with what I do with my property (nor do I for theirs) because they exist.  That is not freedom, that is slavery to the mob.  This is something written about by the US founding fathers a great deal as a serious problem with the Democratic model of government and why they rejected it.

Otherwise, try to confine your posts to more specific targets, they are wandering too far and also please limit the number of quotes from people and web links.  The problem with these is that an already long post now becomes even longer when one links to entire other articles.  We want to hear your thoughts and even if the ideas come from others, posit them as best you can in your own words, or else it is not really a debate.

Economics can tell you some more about how a Nation's wealth requires capital goods (hence Capitalism) to create worker productivity, which increases wages and wealth.  Nations that are now at the bottom end of the scale have to move through the same stages the West did hundreds of years ago, although they have the added benefit of seeing how to do it and the fact is, countries like China and India are rapidly increasing wealth and moving through their phases very quickly.  They are painful, conditions are not good, but they are better than conditions were before.  A Corporation that invests in say, China - or Nation with fewer Capitol Goods, gets lower productivity from the workers because there is not as much capital and hence wages must be lower.  Otherwise, they would not invest at all, and each investment increases the capital base, and hence future productivity.  The driver of change for the better, be it environment, legal, political, and wages, is all based on the increasing value of the workers who will no longer put up with such conditions as wealth moves up. 

The key economic problems are often the curse - yes curse - of having resources, like minerals or oil.  These allow the wealth of the country, instead of growing, to be placed on a diminishing "trust fund" controlled by small elites (people like the ruling family of Saud, Saddam Hussein, tribal leaders in Africa - aka the diamond wars - theocracies, even terrorist organizations).  Then compounding these problems are subsidies on food production (the poor countries cannot sell their farm goods and get priced out, and this hurts them a great deal) - even food aid can hurt because how can a farmer compete with free food?

Ways to solve = enough security to allow for foreign investment, elimination of ag subsidies in the developed world, also free flow of immigration to the developed world, because much investment goes back to the home country and this can be used to raise the standard of living, and also gives the people of that country opportunities they may not have at home and it gives the lower growth populations of the developed world new workers.

(Edited by Kurt Eichert on 3/15, 6:59am)




Post 76

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 10:40pmSanction this postReply
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Well said, Kurt, well said.

Ed
[formerly your intellectual enemy, but now finding it awful hard to be even indifferent to your compelling contributions]




Post 77

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 11:23pmSanction this postReply
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Mike, some points ...

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The problem with that model [free market capitalism], ... is that the market isn’t democratic. ... the central idea in a democracy, that every individual should have the same number of votes.
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That's the egalitarian view. In the egalitarian view, one person could be super-productive of value (think Henry Ford, who improved the lives of millions and millions and millions) but just one unproductive person (perhaps a former horse-buggy operator?) -- voting with their 'equal' currency -- could strip him of his worth, his value; because they woke up and found themselves at odds with 'something' about him.

It could be mere envy, but the source of the vote doesn't matter -- the 'fact' of a single person being able to cancel out the productivity of another person -- because his 'vote' cancels out the 'producer's' -- is guaranteed to bring about poverty and strife, suffering and back-breaking toil, a war of all against all. When subjective whims count, Middle Eastern style, tribalistic savagery irremediably ensues. And this is because of the kind of creatures that we are. There is one right way (and many wrong ways) for humans to coexist.


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If we’re relying on shareholders, much of the population doesn't own shares at all, and among those people who do, some own many shares and others don’t.
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But who do shareholders rely on? The population at large. Look at Texaco after the racist scandal. Shares dropped at least a billion dollars -- reputation rules free markets, like nothing else does. Get a bad rep' (by being unjust) -- and kiss your shares good-bye.


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Namely those people who own lots of shares, and have lots of wealth, have a lot more power.
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Economic (productive) or political (coercive)? The answer to that matters tremendously. Let's assume the first case. If folks have lots of shares of something, then they've been productive (wealth comes from producing a value, and trading with others). If these productive folks get more 'productive' power -- then Joe Average benefits (think of the illiterate janitor at Microsoft -- who would not be able to eat, if it weren't for Bill Gates and his entrepreneurial discoveries and innovations).

Now let's take the second case. Let's examine what it means to have political power, simply because you've made a few bucks. A recent example is Enron. A company that made a few bucks, and mismanaged it to the hilt. What happened there? Well, they got a billion of our tax dollars from 'corporate welfare' -- an egalitarian concept that says: "It's okay if you aren't productive in the market, we will rob Peter to pay Paul; after all, we're all equally deserving of wealth, regardless of our productivity."

The bottom line is that the Enron scandal (yes, it was a scandal) was made possible ONLY because the market WASN'T free. ONLY because Enron was not allowed to benefit (or suffer) from their own managerial practices. Each company should benefit (or suffer) from their own managerial practices. How do you think that we could ever get to a position where we are 36 times more productive (in the last 200 years) -- if individual companies didn't reap what they had sowed?

Profits and losses teach. That is how human progess attains. Interrupt this all-important feedback mechanism (because it 'feels good' to feed the needy, help the poor, the tired, the overwrought) -- and the whole economy goes into the gutter. That 36-fold increase in productivity (in the last 200 years) came about largely because the market was free from statist intervention (income tax didn't start until just before the 20th Century).

The 19th Century (the 1800s) experienced a 50% deflation rate. Do you know what that means? That means that the poorest of the poor -- doing absolutely nothing to produce any value -- double their purchasing power (their ability to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc). How was that possible? Because the unfettered producers were SO productive -- that they brought the cost of EVERYTHING down (law of supply & demand).

Everyone -- regardless of social status -- doubled their money in the 1800s. Here's a question for you: If, just before 1800, a man had to work all day just to feed his family -- and we're now 36 times more productive -- how come an average man (working all day) can't afford to feed 36 families? Huh? The answer: altruistic statism. Taxes, Inflation, Tariffs, and other statist interventions in a once-free economy -- have made us have to work harder for less.

I personally don't know anyone that makes enough money to support 36 families. I blame government intervention for that. We should be 36 times more rich than those 200 years ago. Yet more than 95 cents has been taken out of every dollar (since 1902) -- due to altruistic government inflation. If we had been left alone to produce value and trade it, then rivers would be flowing with honey and, instead of over 90% of our 'poor' owning color television sets, over 90% of our 'poor' would own their own home, outright.

Statism inherently hampers productivity. And productivity is the ONLY means to wealth production (ie the ONLY solution to poverty and world hunger).

Ed




Post 78

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 11:53pmSanction this postReply
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Mike, some more ...

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Many people have very little consumer power at all, especially when you get outside of the industrialized countries.
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And where does 'consumer power' come from? From production. Think of 2 men on an island. One wants what the other has. How does he get it? By producing some value that the other wants even more. That is how an individual can even BECOME a consumer of anything (by first producing something to trade). There is no other way to be a consumer -- than to first 'produce' something of value (goods or services). It is producers that control markets (as well it should be) -- because they MAKE markets possible.


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And there are many other problems with the model as well, and that is: how are consumers supposed to know what is going on in corporations? Especially what kind of harms are being caused by corporations. Especially when you have the media itself being a relatively ineffective tool for revealing corporate harm.'
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That's a pretty good point, actually. But the answer lies in the internet. With the advent of the internet (blogs, meta-search engines, focus groups, etc.) one can find out about things like never before. One can become aware of whistle-blowing employees, focus group criticisms, international reporting, etc. -- we have never been so able to "know what is going on in corporations" than we do now. Here's an example, but I could produce dozens more. The internet is the great democratic equalizer.


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People who work in sweatshops for instance make enough for the essentials and that's it.
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This ignores a key point. People in sweatshops were STARVING TO DEATH before the business came into their country (why else would you agree to work for pennies an hour, hmm?) -- to save their very lives.


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Also what about the people who don't have money , indigenous people etc.. Third world workers and indigenous people are unable to effectively influence policy change via that kind of consumer activism, and have their agriculture, public space, schools taken over by corporations.
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Indigenous tribalists. The kind of people that kill and scalp 'others.' The kind of people that listen to Witchdoctors who declare 'Menge' -- and commit infanticide (because their inherent unproductivity precludes feeding those born). These baby killers deserve more say in how things are run -- is that your position? These baby killers ought to be given more free reign in the developed world -- is that your position? People who support female genital mutilation. People who support human sacrifice. People who think it's righteous to scalp, rape, kill, and pillage. They aren't getting enough 'say' in things -- is that your position?

I'm done for now -- this makes me sick,

Ed




Post 79

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 12:15amSanction this postReply
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[deep breath] Okay, I'll continue ...

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Third world workers and indigenous people are unable to effectively influence policy change via that kind of consumer activism, and have their agriculture, public space, schools taken over by corporations. You could say we should vote with dollars to protect them, but we don't necessary know it's happening, and we may not know what's best for them.
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"[W]e may not know what's best for them." Are you saying that what's best for 'them' may not be the same as what's best for 'us' (because there's no such thing as 'human nature')? Do some people 'need' infanticide? Do some people 'need' female genital mutilation? Do some people 'need' human sacrifices? Do some people 'need' beheadings of Infidels?

I'm sick again,

Ed




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